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Welcome to Jurassic Park

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Welcome to Jurassic Park

Full disclosure. I love Jurassic Park. I don’t even have a concept of how many times I’ve watched this movie. This movie is perfect and a big part of why it’s perfect is John William’s amazing soundtrack. Ready to know more?

Let’s talk a little about John Williams himself. He was born in 1932. You guys, John Williams is 87 years old? I guess...it makes sense but he seems like some sort of eternal presence that has just always existed and always will as long as there are movies…

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Arturo Rodriguez’s Requiem Sinfonica: A Requiem Without Words for Those Who Perished in the Ghost Ship Fire

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Arturo Rodriguez’s Requiem Sinfonica: A Requiem Without Words for Those Who Perished in the Ghost Ship Fire

On Sunday, December 2, 2018, Awesöme Orchestra Collective will premiere Pie Jesu from Arturo Rodriguez’s Requiem Sinfonica (Requiem Without Words) at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA. This will be the second movement premiered of a nine-movement work in progress by Bay Area composer Arturo Rodriguez dedicated to the thirty-six individuals who lost their lives in Oakland’s Ghost Ship fire on December 2, 2016. When the work is complete, there will be more than ninety minutes of music for full symphony orchestra, which Awesöme Orchestra Collective will premiere in its entirety in 2021.

Rodriguez began sketching and composing ideas for a Requiem Mass in 2016. He had written an early draft of the Kyrie movement, and had just begun composing the Introit when news of the fire broke. Feeling compelled to support the grieving arts community…

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MALAMBO!

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MALAMBO!

Alberto Ginastera (Hee-na-stair-a) was a 20th century Argentinian composer born in 1916. He studied music at the conservatory in Buenos Aires and quickly gained popularity as a young composer, particularly for his two early ballet suites, Panambi and Estancia. While the country loved his music, Argentina was going through some stuff in the mid 20th century, and Ginastera was forced to leave in 1945…

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Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III

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Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III

Richard Wagner's opera Lohengrin features unquestionably his most famous music, the wedding march from Act III (aka THE wedding march from every standard wedding music playlist). Today we're focusing on the little gem right before that wedding march, where Wagner condenses a whole wedding party into a less-than-five-minute prelude. So yeah, we're gonna focus on the party today.

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Porgy and Bess: Selection for orchestra

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Porgy and Bess: Selection for orchestra

Let's start with a little background on George Gershwin. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1898. His family members were Russian Jewish immigrants and he grew up near the Yiddish Theater District, where he and his brother attended shows and even appeared as an extra occasionally. Gershwin.com provides this nice back-handed compliment: "As a boy, George was anything but studious, and it came as a wonderful surprise to his family that he had secretly been learning to play the piano." 

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Tara's Theme from Gone with the Wind

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Tara's Theme from Gone with the Wind

Listen...Gone with the Wind, like so many other period films, is a more accurate depiction of the time it was made than the time it tries to depict. It's pretty uncomfortable to watch in 2017. But, this film score influenced generations and it's part of the reason we even have film composers instead of just mix-tape like compilations in the background. The complete score is #2 on the American Film Institute's "Greatest American Film Scores" (Star Wars took the top spot), but today we're just going to look at the theme that opens, closes and totally saturates the film. Speaking of which, here's the whole movie in gif form in case you don't have 4 hours…

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Vertigo Suite

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Vertigo Suite

Well, it's September. A chill is in the air, kids are going back to school, and spooky stories are starting to come up in conversation. In that spirit, we're jumping into one of my all-time favorite film scores because nothing says "fall" quite like Vertigo…

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Godfather Suite

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Godfather Suite

The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are two of the greatest movies ever made. The films have won Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys, and BAFTAs, and are featured on pretty much every  one of AFI’s countless lists of the best films ever made. And while the films feature incredible performances by stars like Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, Francis Ford Coppola’s extraordinary direction, and some of the best, most quotable lines in film history (“Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”), the incredible score by Nino Rota elevates the pair of films to modern-day opera…

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Delibes: Cortège de Bacchus from "Sylvia"

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Delibes: Cortège de Bacchus from "Sylvia"

I try not to pick favorites, I really do. But the first time I heard this piece of music I just kept yelling "What IS this? "WHO is this?" which tells you a lot about how much fun it is to hang out with me. This piece is so exhilarating and exciting and incidentally, my number 1 pick for classical music pieces to run to. Are you ready for Bacchus?…

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Copland: Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo

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Copland: Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo

What does Awesöme Orchestra have in common with beef commercials, Vegas fountain shows, and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West? Copland’s “Hoe-down” from Rodeo!

Let’s start with a brief bio of who Aaron Copland was. He was referred to by his peers as “the Dean of American Composers” and I think many people would still agree to that title today. He was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1900 to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants, although Copland himself was not particularly religious. By age 15 he had decided to become a composer, though apparently he’d been writing music since he was eight, and so he began taking formal composition lessons.

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